But how do you give them their freedom without losing some semblance of control?Experts on teen behavior weigh in with advice on how to listen, how to back off and how to set boundaries.In elementary school, dating is rarely more than a gussied up play-date.Mike" and author of several books on teen-agers including Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers (Celestial Arts, ).He says teen dating is really practice for future adult relationships.From precocious puppy love in fourth grade to serious intimacy in high school, there are few topics that raise more anxiety questions for parents than dating.child psychiatrist and author of the book, The Sex Lives of Teenagers: Revealing the Secret World of Adolescent Boys and Girls (Plume, ).
And whether it occurs any earlier in our society, especially as children today are bombarded by media images of dating and sexuality.
Perhaps the first thing parents need to know is that the term dating is hopelessly out of date."Teens are put off by the term," said Ponton, and prefer to say "hooking up." But they don't mean it in the sexual way that the term has become commonly associated with.
Your pig-tailed tomboy lost her baby fat and bears a dangerous resemblance to Britney Spears.
Or your Little Leaguer smells suspiciously like dads cologne and actually cares about his clothes.
By middle school, it's something to do to bug your parents.
And by high school, many couples sustain dating that lasts longer than the average college relationship.